Evil Under the Sun (1982)

PG   |    |  Drama, Mystery


Evil Under the Sun (1982) Poster

Trying to find how a millionaire wound up with a phony diamond brings Hercule Poirot (Sir Peter Ustinov) to an exclusive island resort frequented by the rich and famous. When a murder is committed, everyone has an alibi.

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7.1/10
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  • Jane Birkin and Peter Ustinov in Evil Under the Sun (1982)
  • Diana Rigg in Evil Under the Sun (1982)
  • Maggie Smith and Peter Ustinov in Evil Under the Sun (1982)
  • Diana Rigg in Evil Under the Sun (1982)
  • Maggie Smith in Evil Under the Sun (1982)
  • Peter Ustinov and Denis Quilley in Evil Under the Sun (1982)

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Director:

Guy Hamilton

Writer:

Anthony Shaffer (screenplay)

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20 October 2009 | TheLittleSongbird
8
| Absolutely terrific whodunit, by far one of the better Agatha Christies out there
Death On the Nile is definitely the best of the Peter Ustinov outings, with its sumptuous scenery and costumes, fine performances and an overall successful attempt to do justice to the book. Evil Under the Sun is not quite as good, it does start off a little slow and it does drag in places. But other than that, it is a hugely enjoyable film that is in my opinion one of the better Agatha Christies out there.

The scenery in this film is absolutely breathtaking as are the colourful costumes, captured perfectly by the magnificent cinematography. Arlena Marshall's dresses are amazing, and I admit when I first saw the movie I was like I want a dress like that. The soundtrack by Cole Porter is wonderful, and a real treat to the ears. One of the film's highlights was the song Arlena(marvellously played by Diana Rigg) sings, it somewhat reminded me of Marlene Dietrich.

The film also benefits from a very clever plot, that is definitely among Agatha Christie's best. Throughout, it is beautifully constructed, with some clever and not at all confusing subplots. The dialogue is very inspiring, sometimes flowery and at other times witty. My favourites were the bitching of Arlena and Daphne Castle, they were so funny and original, and by far one of the highlights of the film. Another highlight was the final solution, a truly ingenious one, one of my favourite denouncements of all time.

And what about the acting? Superb from all involved! Peter Ustinov while not looking exactly like Christie's dapper detective in the books seems to be enjoying himself enormously here and it really shows. As I've said already, I loved Diana Rigg as Arlena, quite frosty and very detestable in terms of character, but in terms of a truly talented actress like Rigg, it was a marvellous performance. Jane Birkin is great, as is Nicolas Clay, both of whom are under-appreciated actors and put everything into their characters. Other than Rigg, the other standout for me was Maggie Smith as Daphne. Then again, Smith never disappoints in anything she's in, and being one of my all-time favourite actresses, she gives one of her more understated performances here. James Mason was fine, though he could have done with more screen time.

All in all, one or two minor flaws, but overall an absolutely terrific film. And I do admit, I prefer it over the David Suchet version. 8.5/10 Bethany Cox

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Drama | Mystery

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